This past Tuesday, Peyton and I attended the funeral of a young 16-year-old boy she went to school with. Gardner was actually one of the first few people she met when she started at the high school, and he stood out as a larger-than-life presence. The town and surrounding area is reeling from the loss of such a vibrant young man. So many knew and loved him. And at 16, he had already begun to create a legacy.
Between a vigil that we attended last Thursday following his accident and his funeral this week, many people had a chance to stand and speak about him. Do you know what the one thing that every single person who spoke, from the high school students to the adults, said about him?
He loved Jesus. “Jesus was his best friend.” “He wanted people to know about Jesus.” “He lived like Jesus.” “He was feeling called to be in ministry.” “There wasn’t anyone that Gardner didn’t make feel at home.” “Everyone felt like they were his best friend.” “His joy was infectious.” “He wanted everyone to know how they could know God.”
What was said over and over again spoke to the fact that Gardner lived his salvation and belief in the Lord out loud for all to see. It made me wonder if my salvation and belief in the Lord is as obvious to everyone as Gardner’s was.
I don’t presume to try to make it a contest between believers about who best represents God. We all know Jesus had a hard enough time with the disciples wanting to figure out who was the best. But what a living example of the Bible we had right before our eyes in this young man!
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” –1 Timothy 4:12
“Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16
We are consistently reminded to be the salt and the light, that we are to take care of the least of these, that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. And often we got caught up in our own day to day lives, forgetting about the people around us that need to see what God’s love looks like.
I’m praying that as I move about the days and the weeks to come, that I’m reminded of Gardner Cameron and the legacy he left behind. I’m encouraging everyone that’s reading to reach out to people, smile and talk to them, share about Jesus with someone.
And if someone reading this doesn’t know Jesus, we encourage you to reach out to Iron Porch or to a local pastor or friend that knows what it means to be saved. We would love for you to know what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It would be the best decision of your life.
Thank you, Gardner, for the beautiful example you have left for us. It’s a legacy we’ll never forget.